There’s been a space race in the surfing world over the last few years. The Russians have nothing to do with it, though (as far as I know). It’s a race for a fully functioning public wave pool, and one with decent waves. There’s the WaveGarden which, so far, is the most promising. The waves work. While they’re not huge, they’re more like waves than nearly anything else out there, apart from actual waves. Kelly Slater’s Wave Company is always talked about, but the talking and a few prototypes are about all we’ve seen. American Wave Machines is doing a pretty bang up job, and of course, Webber Wave Pools is rumored to have secured a location for a Sunshine Coast resort opening in 2016. But when it comes to workable wave pools, no one’s counting their chickens until they hatch.
With a recent development, there’s one more egg in the basket. An engineering firm called Arup has presented a proposal to build a massive floating beach in the middle of Melbourne’s Victoria Harbor. Designers say that the waves would travel for around 500 feet, and would be nearly 100 feet wide. In addition to the waves, the floating park would include a sandy beach, a lawn area, and a pool. Filtered seawater would be drawn in from the harbor and heated all year.
Arup proposed the idea after a Melbourne architect named Damian Rogers approached them with it. According to The Age, the facility would cost upwards of $8 million to build, and the company is seeking private investors as opposed to government funding, although the city of Melbourne would still need to approve the project before construction begins. Surfers would be charged a fee to use the park, but beach access would be free.